I grew up almost exactly two miles north of Detroit. I was a pretty average kid, but with allergies and a love for books and movies, I wasn't exactly the "outdoor-sporty" type. To this day, I'm pretty incompetent dealing with a situation that requires me to make a ball go a certain way, or catch said ball.
Still, because my dad was into baseball, I had a passing knowledge of the Detroit Tigers, and rooted for them. I knew many of the players' names and their positions. Summer didn't feel like summer until I heard Ernie Harwell's voice on WJR. I played Cub Scout softball for a couple of seasons, but with little interest, and not very well. I think I may have hit the ball once, and caught it never.
I had a favorite player though: Dave Rozema. I have no memory of why. I think it was because I had a glossy 8x10 photo of him, probably from some promotional giveaway. It just as easily could have been because his middle name is "Scott".
By the time Dave and the Tigers won the World Series in 1984, I didn't have a lot of interest anymore. I was a full-on nerd, with even less interest in sports than ever. I did, however, have a new favorite player: Marty Castillo (career batting average = .190, HR = 8). Mostly because that choice bugged my dad.
As an adult, I enjoy watching the occasional game of any sport. I get the appeal, but I don't really get have the inclination to get emotionally involved in groups of random strangers from cities with names that don't match the ones on their jerseys as they struggle through a season.
I'm not trying to knock "Sports". They're great for people who like 'em. They just ain't for me. I know how to spell (and pronounce) the name of Superman's foe "Mr. Mxyzptlk" without looking it up, but someone else has memorized Michael Jordan's RBI. Both are entirely trivial pieces of information useless in the real world.
We all have our own thing...
I got a call on the "Hotline" (which sounds exciting, but it's really just a private phone line into a studio). It went something like this:
(Again, time has made memories fuzzy, but this is basically how I remember it.)
CALLER: Hey, Mr. Vertical, this is Dave Rozema.
CALLER: I just wanted to tell you that I really love your show and the station. I run my own construction company now, and if you guys ever need anything, just give me a call.
ME: OK, thanks "Dave", I really appreciate it.
CALLER: No problem, have a good one.
ME: OK, you too "Dave".
I hung up thinking that was the dumbest prank ever. Somebody obviously called from inside the building pretending to be my childhood sports idol, which I don't even ever recall telling anyone about and oh My GOD, I JUST TALKED TO DAVE ROZEMA WHO CALLED ME TO SAY NICE THINGS ABOUT ME AND WHERE I WORKED AND I WAS KIND OF A DISMISSIVE JERK TO HIM BECAUSE I DIDN'T REALLY THINK IT WAS HIM!!
Is it my fault that I had no idea what Dave Rozema's voice sounded like?
As far as I can tell from the interwebs, Dave doesn't actually own his own company (Did he ever? Is my memory faulty?), but now works for HBC Contracting. (if that's incorrect, please let me know, and I'll update that info)
So, I'm sorry, Dave, that I didn't pay more attention to that phone call. It was a rookie DJ mistake. That info should have been passed along to our sales & promotion departments. I bet commercial time wasn't that expensive, and some kid of relationship could have been established. If I were a better networker, I could possibly have been pals with Dave this whole time.
I'm really sorry.